6 rescued in Davao mall fire
DAVAO CITY—At least six people were rescued from the massive fire that hit one of the large malls here on Saturday, authorities said.
As of 4 p.m. firefighters continued to put out the blaze that started past 9 a.m. but a mall official said the situation was now under control.
But fire investigators said they were still verifying reports that at least 28 employees of a business process outsourcing (BPO) company remained unaccounted for after a fire hit the New City Commercial Center (NCCC) Mall on Ma-a Road.
Senior Insp. Ma. Teresita Gaspan, Davao City Police Office spokesperson, said the blaze started around 9:30 a.m. as the mall opened and shoppers were allowed inside.
She said the flames started at the furniture section of the mall’s third floor and quickly spread to the upper floor, where the SSI call center office (not SSC as earlier reported) was located.
Gaspan said firefighters from several fire stations in the city continued to battle the flames as paramedics from the 911 Emergency Service conducted search and rescue operations inside the mall.
Hours after the blaze begun, rescuers were able to get six people out, she said.
Rushed to the hospitals for unspecified injuries were Reggen Ombain,20; Jireh Duterte, 28; Ednard Gumela, 21; Dexter Gonzaga, 27; Ereneo Sabas Jr., 23; and Jose Banilad, 46.
All, except for Ombain, had been discharged from the hospital.
It was not immediately known if the six individuals were call center or mall employees or shoppers.
“It is unfortunate that we confirm that there was a fire at the third floor of NCCC Mall Department Store. The BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection) has the situation under control and we are still verifying the extent of the incident,” Thea Septann Padua, NCCC public relations chief, said in a statement on Facebook.
“We are coordinating with the authorities. However, there are no reported casualties,” she added.
Gaspan said an investigation into the incident was underway.
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